After spending the majority of the offseason keeping baseball fans in the country on the edge of their seats, slugger Bryce Harper chose to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies. Harper and Philadelphia agreed to a record contract for the former league MVP to spend the next 13 years in Philadelphia and make $330 million along the way.
Let’s break that down; Harper will earn $25,384,615.40 per year, $158,653 per game and $17,628 per inning. Joining the Phillies means that Harper will be staying in the National League East Division and will play against his former club, the Washington Nationals, who he spent the first seven years of his career with.
Harper, the former first overall draft pick in the 2010 MLB Draft, has already been selected to six All-Star Games and won an MVP award (2015) at the age of 26. In his rookie year in 2012, at just 19 years old, he became the youngest position player to ever make an All-Star appearance. However, in 2018 Harper’s batting average took a dip; he hit just .249 a year following him hitting .319, but the power was still there. He knocked in 34 home runs and batted in 100 runs.
Harper is now taking his talent and experience to the Philadelphia Phillies, who hope to have him lead a young, promising core coming up from their farm system. The Phillies finished the 2018 regular season with a record of 80-82, just 10 games behind the Atlanta Braves, who won the division. Aside from the losing record, last season was a huge step in the right direction for the Phillies who have essentially spent the past several years in the basement of the MLB. It will be interesting to see the Phillies and Nationals matchup over the next few years. Those faithful to the Nationals are unlikely to give Harper a warm welcome when he returns to Washington after walking away from the organization to join one of their rivals. With their first match up coming on April 2, there will certainly be bad blood for years to come, but that’ll make for a fantastic rivalry.
Last season it was apparent to most baseball fans that Harper’s days in the nation’s capital were numbered as several reports came out that the Nationals were not willing to give Harper the record contract he was demanding. It also did not work in the Nationals favor that they have been hovering just above mediocrity in Harper’s tenure. The Nationals won four division titles in their time with Harper and came as close as four wins away from a 100 win season in a couple of those years, but they failed to make it out of the first round of the playoffs each time. Harper has not played a single National League Championship Series (NLCS) game in his career, and the season begins in just under three weeks. Harper and the Philadelphia Phillies will hope to make a run at the division and will likely be completing toe to toe with the Atlanta Braves who won the NLCS last year after also seeing their young core emerge and take the big leagues by storm.